Fenwick Friars Evelyn Mulvihill, Anna Doherty, Sammie Reiss, and Regan McDonald holding first place medals for the Varsity 200 yard Medley Relay. | Sara Janz

There are few certainties in life (beyond death and taxes), but you can add an item to that exclusive list: the Fenwick High School girls swimming and diving team winning an IHSA sectional.

This proved true once again on Nov. 4 as the Friars won their sectional title with 317 points. Lane Tech was second with 281, and OPRF was third with 243. 

It’s Fenwick’s 23rd sectional championship in the last 24 seasons, something Friars’ head coach Ben Munster anticipated.

“It feels good,” he said. “I told the girls all week that’s what I expected. We looked good [at the Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference meet], and a lot of the girls did better here.”

“It’s amazing,” added Fenwick senior Cailey Peele. “The energy was so high … we brought it today.”

Fenwick swept and qualified all three relays for the IHSA state meet. The 200-yard medley relay of junior Evelyn Mulvihill, freshman Maggie Rainiere, junior Anna Doherty, and Peele won in 1:45.74; the 200 freestyle relay of freshman Maeve Ryan, Rainiere, sophomore Claire Wood, and Peele won in 1:37.83; and the 400 freestyle relay of Mulvihill, Wood, Peele, and Doherty won in 3:33.35.

The Friars also qualified in six individual events. Doherty won the 200 individual medley in 2:06.19 and placed second in the 500 freestyle in 5:01.80 to set a new school record.

“It’s awesome,” Doherty said of her milestone in the 500. “I wanted to break the record last year but I didn’t. This year I did, and I’m really excited about that.

Peele won the 50 freestyle in 24.38 seconds. Mulvihill won the 100 backstroke in 57.57 and placed second in the 100 freestyle in 52.58. And junior Viktoria Castillo won the diving competition with a score of 380.65 points.

Although Munster said Fenwick has gradually improved over the course of the season, he believes the Friars can do even better at the state meet.

“We’ve got one more week to go, and I feel that the job’s not done,” he said. “We still have to improve the small things with our turns and finishes, and we’ve got to improve our relay times and do better individually.”

OPRF’s Walby wins 100 breaststroke 

OPRF Huskie Kate Walby during the 200 yard individual medley. | Sara Janz

Junior Kate Walby was the lone state qualifier for the Huskies, winning the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:07.66. She rallied over the final 50 yards to overtake Rainiere, who finished in second, .12 behind.

“It’s very exciting to have all your hard work pay off,” Walby said. “We work with [OPRF head coach] Clyde [Lundgren] very specifically on the back half, and I knew I could bring it back if I wasn’t too far off.”

  “It’s very exciting to have all your hard work pay off,” Walby said. “We work with [OPRF head coach] Clyde [Lundgren] very specifically on the back half, and I knew I could bring it back if I wasn’t too far off.”

“That was a fun event for Kate,” Lundgren said. “Between her, Hailey Boland, and [Rainiere], the winner was going to go Downstate. But I was hoping all three could go based on time.”

OPRF had a young and largely inexperienced team this season. But Lundgren felt things went well and thinks the Huskies will learn from this year and improve.

“I’m really proud of how they did,” he said. “Of all our individual swims [at Fenwick], we had only three that weren’t lifetime bests, but those three were still season-bests. It was a great day to be a Huskie.”

The IHSA state meet is Nov. 10-11 at FMC Natatorium in Westmont.

Swimmers moments before an event during the 2023 IHSA swim sectionals at Fenwick High School. | Sara Janz

Trinity sets 5 school records  

Trinity finished sixth at Fenwick with 76 points and did not qualify any individuals or relays for the state meet.

But the Blazers established five school records. Junior Sarah Falkenholm set new marks in the 50 freestyle (26.14) and 100 freestyle (58.72), while senior Katerina Krysan set the mark in the 100 backstroke (1:10.36).

Trinity also set new school standards in two relays. The 200 medley relay of Krysan, freshman Theresa Olson, junior Avril Ruiz, and Falkenholm placed sixth in 2:08.83, and the 200 freestyle relay of junior Mia Sznewajs, Ruiz, Falkenholm, and junior Emma Steadman took fifth in 1:54.45.

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